Why We Should Be Celebrating the Treatment of Women in Anglo-Saxon England

By Lynda Telford / 05.20.2018 Events and Projects Officer Richard III Society, Yorkshire Branch What was the way of life for most ordinary women during the early Middle Ages in England? The answer is surprising. In Anglo-Saxon England – before the Norman Conquest in 1066 – men and women enjoyed relatively equal rights and social,[…]

How Yersinia Pestis Evolved Its Ability to Kill Millions via Pneumonic Plague

How did Yersinia pestis bacteria start to target the lungs and become so deadly? National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, CC BY It’s a deadly bacterium that can spread like wildfire. New research suggests Yersinia pestisfirst developed its ability to cause lung infection and then evolved to be highly infectious.    By Dr. Daniel Zimbler (left) and Dr. Wyndham Lathem (right) / 06.30.2015 Zimbler: Senior Scientist, Microbiology[…]

The Hardworking, Homemaking Hedgehog of the Medieval Bestiary

A Hedgehog (detail) in a bestiary, about 1270, unknown illuminator, possibly made in Thérouanne, France. Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment, 7 1/2 × 5 5/8 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig XV 3, fol. 79v. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program In the medieval bestiary, hedgehogs are portrayed[…]

The Corpse-Devouring Hyena of the Medieval Bestiary

A Hyena (detail) in the Northumberland Bestiary, about 1250–60, unknown illuminator, made in England. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 100, fol. 12v. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program. In a world of good versus evil, the hyena plays the role of the bad guy. By Jessica Sheppard-Reynolds / 05.10.2018 Notoriously hungry, the[…]

The Pelican, Self-Sacrificing Mother Bird of the Medieval Bestiary

A Pelican Feeding Her Young (detail) in a bestiary, 1278–1300, unknown illuminator, Franco-Flemish. Tempera colors, pen and ink, gold leaf, and gold paint on parchment, 9 3/16 × 6 7/16 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig XV 4, fol. 21v. Digital image courtesy of Getty’s Open Content Program The pelican in the bestiary manuscripts[…]

The Little-Known Tale of the Medieval Unicorn

A Unicorn (detail) in the Northumberland Bestiary, about 1250–60, unknown illuminator, made in England. Pen-and-ink drawing tinted with with body color and translucent washes on parchment, 8 1/4 × 6 3/16 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 100, fol. 11. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program With a weakness for virgin maidens,[…]

Separating Myth from Legend about the Medieval Dragon

A Winged Dragon (detail) in a bestiary, 1278–1300, unknown illuminator, Franco-Flemish. Tempera colors, pen and ink, gold leaf, and gold paint on parchment, 9 3/16 × 6 7/16 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig XV 4, fol. 94. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program In medieval bestiaries, dragons killed elephants, feared[…]

How King Arthur Became One of the Most Pervasive Legends of All Time

Vuk Kostic/www.shutterstock.com Historic heroes like King Arthur have helped audiences through the ages to cope with troubling times. By Dr. Raluca Radulescu / 02.02.2017 Professor of Medieval Literature and English Literature Bangor University King Arthur is one of, if not the, most legendary icons of medieval Britain. His popularity has lasted centuries, mostly thanks to the numerous incarnations of his story that pop[…]

The Caladrius, Harbinger of Hope or Despair in the Medieval Bestiary

Caladrius Birds (detail) in a bestiary, 1278–1300, unknown illuminator, Franco-Flemish. Tempera colors, pen and ink, gold leaf, and gold paint on parchment, 9 3/16 × 6 7/16 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig XV 4, fol. 45v. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program A mythical bird that foretold if you would[…]

The Bonnacon, Laughing Stock of the Medieval Bestiary

A Bonnacon (detail) in the Northumberland Bestiary, about 1250–60, unknown illuminator, made in England. Pen-and-ink drawing tinted with body color and translucent washes on parchment, 8 1/4 × 6 3/16 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 100, fol. 26v. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program This mythical medieval creature burns attackers with[…]

George Berkeley and Liber Mundi

Hartmann Schedel (German, Nuremberg 1440–1514 Nuremberg) Registrum huius Operis libri cronicarum cum figuris et ymagibus ab inicio mundi, July 12, 1493 German / Metropolitan Museum of Art By Dr. Costica Bradatan Professor of Humanities Texas Tech University Introduction The paradoxical (and also ambitious) aim of this paper consists in attempting to point out the vigorous presence[…]

Crises of the Middle Ages

Emilia Romagna castle fortress in Italy / Creative Commons Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 05.09.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief 1 – Introduction The Middle Ages was a period of approximately one thousand years of history; generally accepted as spanning from the fall of the Roman Empire (toward the end of the 5th century) to the[…]

Monkey See, Monkey Do, Monkey Sin: The Devilish Ape of Medieval Manuscripts

Apes (detail) in the Northumberland Bestiary, about 1250–60, unknown illuminator, made in England. Pen-and-ink drawing tinted with body color and translucent washes on parchment, 8 1/4 × 6 3/16 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 100, fol. 15v. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program Portrayals of primates’ transgressions in the medieval bestiary[…]

The Monstrous Ant of the Medieval Bestiary

Ants in the Northumberland Bestiary, about 1250–60, unknown illuminator, made in England. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 100, fol. 23. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program Ants came in two forms in medieval bestiaries: small and industrious, or dog-sized and ferocious. By Dr. Larisa Grollemond / 05.07.2018 Assistant Curator, Manuscripts Department J.[…]

Fashion According to Medieval Popes: Short Tunics for Him and Fabulous Jewelry for Her

The Emperor Sigismund Arriving in Siena in The Story of Two Lovers with texts written in Latin by Eneas Silvius Piccolomini and illuminations by an unknown artist, French, about 1460-70. The J. Paul Getty Museum, MS. 68, FOL. 25 Examining costumes in the pages of medieval manuscripts. By Dr. Bryan C. Keene / 08.05.2011 Adjunct Professor of Art History Pepperdine University[…]

Iconology of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey: Body, Reputation, and Power in Tudor England

Portrait of Thomas Wolsey, artist unknown, late 16th century — National Portrait Gallery via Wikimedia Commons Characterised as manipulative, power-hungry, and even an alter rex, Henry VIII’s right-hand man Cardinal Thomas Wolsey has been typically depicted with a body mass to rival his political weight. Katherine Harvey asks if he was really the glutton of popular legend,[…]

Leaving Rome: Gothic Art and Architecture

View from north-east of Reims Cathedral (High Gothic) / Photo by G.Garitan, Wikimedia Commons Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 05.05.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief 1 – Introduction to Gothic Art 1.1 – Introduction 1.1.1 – Overview Gothic art developed after the Romanesque, in the 12th century.  The style continued to be used well into the 16th century in[…]

Visions of Paradise: Illuminated Manuscripts and Infinite Gems from Medieval India and Europe

Krishna Uprooting the Parijata Tree from a Bhagavata Purana manuscript, 1525–50, made in Delhi region or Rajasthan, India. Opaque watercolor and ink on paper, 7 1/4 × 9 1/2 in. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, from the Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection, Museum Associates Purchase, M.72.1.26. Photo © Museum Associates/LACMA Luxury objects from Europe, the Middle East,[…]

‘Roman-Like’: Early to High Medieval Romanesque Art and Architecture

Abbaye de Lessay (département de la Manche), France / Photo by Ji-Elle, Wikimedia Commons Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 05.02.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief 1 – The Romanesque Period 1.1 – Introduction Romanesque art was affected by shifting political powers following the Carolingian period and mobility during the Crusades. 1.1.1 – The Source of Inspiration[…]

Research in the Restaurant: Inspiring Modern Chefs with Medieval Cuisine

Bone-flinging feast? Giles Gasper Think of medieval food and a whole range of not especially dignified images come to mind.    By Dr. Giles Gasper and Dr. Rachel Matthews / 06.02.2014 Gasper: Senior Lecturer in Medieval History, Durham University Matthews: Research Grants and Contracts Officer, Department of History, Durham University Think of medieval food and a whole range[…]

You Had to Speak French to Get Ahead in Medieval Britain

Medieval teaching scene. gallica.bnf.fr / BnF Back in the Middle Ages, as well as speaking English and Latin, many people living inBritain also spoke French. By Dr. Huw Grange / 03.16.2018 Junior Research Fellow in French Jesus College University of Oxford The study of modern languages in British secondary schools is in steep decline. The number of students taking French and German GCSE[…]

In a World with No Antibiotics, How Did Doctors Treat Infections?

Bloodletting was treatment for infection in the past. Wellcome Library, London, CC BY While some ancient therapies proved effective enough that they are still used in some form today, on the whole they just aren’t as good as modern antimicrobials at treating infections. By Dr. Cristie Columbus / 01.29.2016 Associate Dean Campus – Dallas Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine Texas A&M University The development of antibiotics and[…]